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SEC Fearless Predictions, Nov. 25

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Nov 21, 2006


Arkansas might have already won the SEC West, but it's still in the fight for the national title. LSU can claim it's the hottest team in the SEC with a win over the Hogs, and could end up in the BCS if it's impressive. Can Casey Dick and Arkansas get it done?


SEC
East  Florida | Georgia | Kentucky | South Carolina | Tennessee | Vanderbilt 
West Alabama | Arkansas | Auburn | LSU | Ole Miss | Miss State
- Part SEC Predictions: Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5
Week 6 | Week 7 | Week 8 | Week 9 | Week 10 | Week 11 | Week 12

How are the picks so far? SU: 76-11 ... ATS: 43-32-2

SEC Fearless Predictions, Week 13, Part 2
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SEC Game of the Week

LSU (9-2) at Arkansas (10-1) 2:30 PM EST CBS Friday, November 24th
Why to Watch: While Arkansas has already clinched the SEC West and will play Florida for the conference title next week, in the court of public opinion, this will be for the honor of being the best team in the division. Arkansas is fourth in the pecking order behind Michigan, USC and Florida in the hunt for the number two spot in the BCS race behind Ohio State, but that can change in a huge hurry with an impressive win over the Tigers and a blowout over the Gators. For LSU, it's playing for a possible at-large BCS bid. Notre Dame and Michigan are locks, while Boise State has to beat Nevada to leave just one spot let. If the Broncos lose and LSU beats Arkansas, Les Miles' crew, currently on a five-game winning streak, might be Rose Bowl bound.
Why LSU Might Win: Defense, defense, defense. LSU's D is number one in the country, third in scoring D, eighth against the pass, and most importantly in this game, sixth against the run allowing just 75 yards per game. The defensive line has dominated all season giving up just three 100-yard team rushing games and four touchdowns. How did Ole Miss come so close to pulling off the shocker? LSU's offense went through the motion and RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis had a workmanlike 96-yard day. Chalk it up to a bit of a letdown; the Tigers will be frothing at the mouth looking to shut down Darren McFadden and the Hog ground game. Arkansas can't win if it has to throw.
Why Arkansas Might Win: Has LSU actually faced a running team yet? Auburn and Kenny Irons moved the ball a bit, but they've hardly been sensational this year. Fresno State got down big early and had to throw. Tennessee's ground game was dead in the water once QB Erik Ainge was knocked out allowing the Tigers to put eight men in the box on every play. The Hog offensive line will hit LSU in the mouth for one of the first times all season long while McFadden and Felix Jones are the best backs the defense has seen. On the other side of the ball, the Hog defense might be among the most underrated in the nation and should keep this from being any sort of a shootout. Take away the 50 point disaster in the opener against USC and Arkansas is giving up just 12 points per game.
Who to Watch: McFadden didn't get into the Heisman race this year despite rushing for 1,303 yards and 12 touchdowns, catching a scoring pass, throwing for two scores and returning a kickoff for a touchdown. He can establish himself early on as the front runner for the 2007 campaign if he lights up LSU for 100 yards in front of a national audience. The real key for the Hogs will be sophomore QB Casey Dick, who doesn't have to throw for 300 yards, but he does have to be effective on third downs and can't turn the ball over. In other words, he has to managed the game.
What Will Happen: Arkansas will run better on LSU than any team has all year, and the Hog defensive front will shut down the Tiger running game, but JaMarcus Russell will come up with two sharp second half drives to win a classic.
CFN Prediction
: LSU 17 ... Arkansas 13  ...  Line: Pick
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Deck the Halls) ... 4.5

Florida (10-1) at Florida State (6-5) 12 PM EST ABC Saturday, November 25th
Why to Watch: It's beauty contest time. USC has a spot in the national title there for the taking by beating Notre Dame and UCLA, and while the Gators are still sort of in the hunt, no one's doing backflips over the idea of putting them in over Michigan if the Trojans lose. Florida, who's going to the SEC Championship game next week to face Arkansas, has to make the voters want to see a Buckeye-Gator matchup, and the only way that happens is with a complete and total obliteration of Florida State followed up by an impressive blowout win over Arkansas. It's not that Florida has been bad, it's that it's been, well, zzzzzzzzs in tight wins over average teams like Vanderbilt, South Carolina and Georgia. Florida State needs some sort of a win to pull up out of the nosedive into mediocrity after losing to Wake Forest and struggling against Western Michigan over the last two weeks. The nightmare of a season can take an immediate turn by ruining Florida's national title dreams. 
Why Florida Might Win: The Florida State offense has been abysmal since good performances against Maryland and Virginia. The running game was always an issue, but all of a sudden, the passing attack went from inconsistent to non-existent with Drew Weatherford and Xavier Lee taking turns to see who can stink more. Part of the problem has been the mediocre play of an offensive line that's not giving the quarterbacks enough time to work and isn't opening up anything for the running game. The Florida defensive line, now that it gets DE Jarvis Moss back from a one-game suspension, will take up residence in the Seminole backfield.
Why Florida State Might Win: Pressure. Lost in FSU's lost season has been the great play of the blitzing, attacking linebacking corps that's making play after play in the backfield and doing a great job of getting to the quarterback. Florida's tackles have been average at best in pass protection, and time and time again, QB Chris Leak has proven to be lousy when he's under any sort of a hurry. Give Leak time and he'll carve you apart. Get someone in his face and his throws will sail all over the place. The Seminole secondary will get several chances to make plays, and if it can take advantage, the offense will get short fields to work with.
Who to Watch: In this week's edition of Florida State's game of musical chairs, Weatherford will get the start despite completing nine of 25 passes for 86 yards and two interceptions over the last two weeks. The coaching staff plans to let him go as long as he's effective, unlike last week, when the idea was to get Xavier Lee more work early on. Lee completed nine of 13 passes for 144 yards and two touchdowns against Western Michigan, and was far better than Weatherford, but there's no set plan to get him on the field.
What Will Happen
: Florida State will be jacked up early, and the defense will keep this from getting ugly, but it won't matter. Florida will play its tightest game in weeks pulling away in the second half.
CFN Prediction
: Florida 31 ... Florida State 17  ...  Line: Florida -9.5
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Deck the Halls) ... 3.5

South Carolina (6-5) at Clemson (8-3) 12 PM EST Saturday, November 25th
Why to Watch: South Carolina looks to get its first win in the bitter in-state rivalry for the first time since 2001. The Tigers have won four straight in the series and could desperately use a bit of a confidence boost after struggling a bit too much with NC State a few weeks ago and losing to Virginia Tech and Maryland after stomping on Georgia Tech in late October. The Gator Bowl would love to jump all over Tommy Bowden's club, even through the Chick-fil-A Bowl is more likely, but first, the Tigers have to win. South Carolina just wants to go somewhere, and it will, but it needs to win to be 100% assured of a spot. Coming off their best performance of the year in a 52-7 annihilation of Middle Tennessee, the Gamecocks are looking for their first good victory of the season. So far, their best win was over Kentucky, but they've battled hard against the big boys like Florida, Arkansas, Tennessee and Auburn.
Why South Carolina Might Win: Clemson's offense has lots of pizzazz and tons of production, but it's not scoring. Turnovers haven't really been a problem, and the productive balance has been there against everyone except Virginia Tech, but the points have been hard to come by over the last three weeks. South Carolina's defense gives up yards, but not a lot of points. On the other side of the ball, the USC offense has found its passing game as the season has gone on helped by the reemergence of Blake Mitchell, who has thrown for 876 yards over the last three games. Clemson's secondary hasn't faced a good passing game a top-notch passing game all year.
Why Clemson Might Win: The South Carolina run defense is overrated. It can be tough at times, and LB Jasper Brinkley has been unbelievable throughout the year, but the defense front can be moved around and the linebackers will give up a few next-level runs. Arkansas was able to crank out yards in chunks, while others haven't been able to come up with the balanced needed to open things up for the ground game. A few big deep throws early should be just enough to keep the safeties back and provide the sliver of daylight needed for the speed backs. Now ...
Who to Watch: ... can the 1-2 tandem of James Davis and C.J. Spiller produce? The world saw what they could do in the scintillating performance against Georgia Tech, and then the machine shut down against Virginia Tech and struggled to get back to the previous form. Spiller carried the day against NC State rushing for 154 yards and a touchdown, while Davis went from being a candidate for the Doak Walker award to off the map after running for 30 yards against Virginia Tech and 34 against the Wolfpack. If one's not running well, the other usually picks up the slack. If the two are rolling, Clemson is unstoppable.
What Will Happen: Make it five in a row. Clemson has too much firepower to be kept under wraps for a third straight week. USC's offense is way too average against good defenses. Blake Mitchell will go back to being Blake Mitchell.
CFN Prediction
: Clemson 26 ... South Carolina 17  ...  Line: Clemson -5
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Deck the Halls) ... 3

SEC Fearless Predictions, Week 13, Part 2
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